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Old 10-30-2011, 11:53 PM   #1
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Clay tiles under concrete basement


Hello again my trusted cyber experts....

I have an unfinished basement in a home built in 1952. I plan on gutting all but the concrete floor.

There are clay tiles that run under the concrete. Water trickles through these tiles pretty much year round with the exception of some cold winter moths.

I plan on having a new weeping system installed and a waterproofing performed on the outside perimeter of the building. After this is done is there a chance water will enter and sit in the existing clay tiles? Do I need to crush the tiles under the concrete floor?

I'm worried about mildew and mould after a finished floor is installed.
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:07 AM   #2
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Sounds weird. Are these some sort of clay drainage tiles? If water is trickling through them most of the year they must be serving some intended purpose?

I guess regrading and redoing your perimeter drainage may render them unnecessary. Plugging them up or getting rid of them would concern me more than whether you get mold in the basement. A basement dehumidifier system should abate the mold issue?

Are you along a stream, drainage path or something? Have you been to the library archives or the planning department to see why you have clay tiles that trickle water all year round? Original drawings for the house could be interesting?
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #3
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The first thing I would do is to go to the local building authorities and see what the "Mean Water Table Level" is at your location. Those tiles may-well serve an absolute purpose that you wouldn't want to disrupt.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:19 PM   #4
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The tiles are weeping tile sdsester, thanks for the reply.

There is a spring that actually comes out of the road in early summer that pushes water above ground (at a small flow rate) until mid summer. No doubt the tile system serves a purpose, but I am thinking of enhancing that system by having an external weeping tile (big 'o') installed around the perimeter of the house.

I will be posting a complete reno 'blog' on this site as it happens. First I have many, many questions to be answered.

I am afraid of the clay tile breaking over time. With the amount of water that does flow, I want to be sure i have a much more concrete solution then clay tiles....AKA big 'o' with a sock.

any thoughts on this are welcome.

My next big question is laying a floor down in a basement that doesn't see too much moisture (as a result of the clay tiles) but still has a musty smell. Which products work best to prevent mould and odour?
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:43 PM   #5
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shorteared -

Those clay tiles you see are typical of the tiles laid in thousands and thousand of acres of farm land in the Midwest to remove excess moisture and permit earlie planting without rot. They were normally clay, but some mobile machines also made concrete tile because of the size of the installation (a few hundred acres at a time in rows a few feet apart). It was an initial labor intensive project similar to barn-raising and thrashing crews that went farm to farm. Most are functioning now as well as decades ago. It is a concept that goes back to the Romans.

I would not hesitate placing a floor over the tiles, but make sure you use sand as a fill where needed.

As far as the exterior, personally I would not touch the cheap corrugated junk, especially with a "sock". You have a well established source of water. For the exterior walls, if it accessible, I would use perforated pvc. Excavate to about 4" below the footing and line the lower side and bottom with filter fabric and place a backfill of a mixture of clean concrete sand and 3/4" crushed rock. There should be 2- 4" of this below the pipe. Run the sand/rock mixture up to within a foot or so of finished grade and top off with top soil.

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Old 11-02-2011, 09:16 AM   #6
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Thanks Dick,

When you say use sand as a filler when i install a floor, what do you mean by that, pour sand on the concrete to even the floor out?
Does perforated pvc outlast/outperform corrugated plastic pipe? Does the corrugated pipe get crushed or something? thanks for your response
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:22 AM   #7
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Regarding the sand, I was referring to a 1-2" or so layer of sand to pour the concrete floor on the basement to get it ready for finishing. If you plan to leave the old concrete in place, it is not needed.

Corrugate pipe (perforated or not) is weak, is easy to install with bellies/sags for collect water and silt. The only good thing is that it is cheap and easy for landscaper to deal with. The ridges slow down the drainage and collect debris.

PVC is more costly, stronger and is readily available in both perforated version and is easy to switch between depending on whether you want to drain or carry water away.

Just a personal opinion based on use.

Dick
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